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The 2024 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering (QEPrize) is awarded to Denmark’s Henrik Stiesdal and Britain’s Andrew Garrad for their achievements in advancing the design, manufacture and deployment of high-performance wind turbines.
 
Over the past four decades, Stiesdal and Garrard have made seminal engineering inputs that – from demonstration to full-scale implementation – have resulted in a phenomenal increase in the size of individual wind turbines and the and the scale of the wind farms in which they are sited, as well as in their engineering an economic performance. Credited for the early technology and critical advances as the industry has evolved, the 2024 Laureates have each pioneered a system that is present in almost all modern wind turbines operating both onshore and offshore in the market today.  
 
Initially designed in 1978, Henrik Stiesdal is credited for a three-blade turbine that represents what is sometimes described as the Danish concept. Leading notable developments in proprietary blade manufacturing technology throughout the 90s, Stiesdal’s elegant innovation that operates upwind of the tower and allows twisting of the blades about their own axis (pitch control) has significantly enhanced scale and efficiency of modern turbines. Further developments pioneered by Stiesdal include wind turbine blades cast in one piece, and direct-drive generators for offshore wind turbines, eliminating the need for gearboxes. 
 
The BLADED computational design tool, pioneered by Andrew Garrad, allows engineers to model a complicated turbine system in its entirety and to predict its behaviour with the confidence needed to permit manufacture of these huge machines. It has been used all over the world and through the consultancy company he co-founded, which supported the industry through design consultancy, testing, measurements, energy evaluation and technical due diligence, has allowed the rapid expansion of the global manufacturing base. A similar analytical approach to wind farm yield pioneered widespread project finance by providing rigorous risk assessments of potential wind farm investment. 
 
Now in its eleventh year, QEPrize has honoured 24 engineers whose innovations have had a significant impact on billions of lives around the world. The 2024 Laureates, who share the £500,000 prize, will be formally honoured at the QEPrize Presentation Ceremony, where they will receive a unique trophy, designed by the 2024 Create the Trophy winner Sunil Thakkar, age 17, from India.
 
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